Historic Speaker’s Corner becomes site of anti-feminist silencing and violence

Efforts to silence feminist speech have taken a violent turn.

Police arrive at Speaker’s Corner after an assault, Sep 13 2017. (Photo: Tuscany Roux)

When Venice Allen decided it was time to talk about gender and the UK’s proposed Gender Recognition Act (which would update the 2004 GRA to remove the requirement of a gender recognition certificate and allow people to change their legal sex through self-identification alone), she assumed her fellow leftists would be on board. To Allen’s surprise, her Momentum group declined to host her proposed meeting, wherein she suggested people “get off the internet,” speak face to face, and debate the issues. She decided to move forward anyway, inviting an equal number of people from both sides of the gender identity debate to participate. She and her co-organizers arranged for the event, called “What is Gender,” to take place at the New Cross Learning, a community library in London, on September 13th. It wasn’t until Sisters Uncut, a British direct action group advocating for domestic violence services, caught wind of the event, that things became chaotic.

“[People] started harassing the library,” Allen told me. “I went in [to New Cross Learning] and heard phone call after phone call, email after email, tweet after tweet.” New Cross Learning was inundated with demands they cancel the talk. Fearing for the space and safety of those in it, the library cancelled the event on September 12th.

Allen had contacted over 20 trans activists to speak at the event, including Paris Lees and CN Lester. Though she was turned down over and over again, Allen felt “there must be someone who is prepared to defend these laws.” She was eventually able to secure Bex Stinson, the trans inclusion officer at Stonewall, an LGBT equality charity, and Claire House, the International Programmes Manager at Stonewall, to speak. But on September 4th, Stinson pulled out, having been offered vacation time at the last minute, and House pulled out two days later, saying she didn’t feel comfortable participating without Stinson present. Allen and her co-organizers had no choice but to go on with the event, without any trans activists present.

A new location was offered up — the University Women’s Club in Audley Square — but, in an effort to keep attendees safe and prevent the new venue from threats and harassment, the location was kept secret. Attendees were told to meet at Speaker’s Corner an hour before the event, where they would be informed of the new venue location.

Speaker’s Corner is a historic area in Hyde Park, where open debate and discussion have taken place for over a century, and is recognized as a space for free speech. In the 1940s, George Orwell described Speaker’s Corner as “one of the minor wonders of the world,” writing that he had listened to “Indian nationalists, temperance reformers, Communists, Trotskyists, the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB), the Catholic Evidence Society, freethinkers, vegetarians, Mormons, the Salvation Army, the Church Army, and a large variety of plain lunatics.”

In the early 20th century, women’s suffrage campaigners held numerous meetings at Hyde Park as part of their fight for the vote. On June 21, 1908, 250,000 women marched to Hyde Park, where 20 platforms were erected around the park for speakers to rally for the women’s vote. “Women’s Sunday,” as it came to be called, was organized by the Women’s Social and Political Union, and was the largest political demonstration the park (and country) had seen. Paul Rabbitts, author of Hyde Park: The People’s Park, wrote that, in 1913, “the police banned the Women’s Social and Political Union from meeting in the park, but the suffragettes defiantly continued to do so.”

But considering a recent incident at the park, one wonders how far we’ve really come. A century after feminists were banned from meeting at the park, things seem to have gotten worse for women who attempt to speak about feminism in public.

Screen shot: Facebook, September 13, 2017

Between 20-30 protestors who had gotten wind that women were meeting at Speaker’s Corner before heading on to the talk showed up to harass attendees and follow them to the venue. Some yelled “Kill all TERFs” and held signs reading “No Debate,” according to witnesses. A group called “Action for Trans Health London” had posted the location of the meeting, despite knowing some protestors were threatening violence. Miranda Yardley, one of the scheduled speakers, told me that one man who commented, “Anyone idea where/if this is happening. I wanna fuck some terfs up, they are no better than fash,” on the Action for Trans Health London Facebook page, did in fact show up at Speaker’s Corner and tried to steal Yardley’s phone.

The man, who calls himself “Tara Flik Wood,” didn’t only attempt to steal a phone. He was also allegedly involved in a violent attack on Maria MacLachlan, a 60-year-old humanist funeral celebrant for Humanists UK.

When I spoke with her over email, MacLachlan told me she had been trying to film the protest when some of the trans activists began to shout, “When TERFs attack, we fight back.” She asked them, “Who’s attacking?” At this point, MacLachlan says a young man in a hoodie tried to grab her camera. “I think he knocked it out of my hand but it was looped to my wrist. He turned back and tried to grab it again. I hung onto it.” As the two struggled, MacLachlan pulled back the hood of the man holding her camera, so onlookers could photograph his face, and another man — identified by numerous witnesses as Wood — ran over and began punching MacLachlan. Wood and a third man pushed her to the ground, where she says she was kicked and punched. The police were called, but have not yet followed up on the assault.

 

MacLachlan says she is “utterly bewildered at the behaviour of these young people.”

“They behaved like a brainwashed cult and seriously seemed to think that we are the haters, the bigots, the misogynists, the violent ones. But all we wanted to do was have a peaceful meeting and discussion and all they wanted to do was try to bully and intimidate us. They behaved like fascists and the irony seems to be totally lost on them. I’m sad because I’ve been a feminist for 45 years, I’ve always been left wing and I feel my generation of women and those that fought before us have been betrayed by this generation.”

Maria Mac was punched in the face at Speaker’s Corner after a trans activist tried to steal her camera.

The women went on to the event venue in small groups, taking different routes in order to lose the protestors who were attempting to follow them. A number of attendees said they felt “stalked” as trans activists assigned to pursue particular individuals followed them very closely. Yardley told me, “We were being intimidated, in plain daylight, by a group of people who outnumbered us by about three to one.”

Julia Long, a feminist activist and lecturer, and Yardley, who identifies as a transsexual and is critical of gender identity ideology, presented to an audience of approximately 50 people, while protestors yelled outside. The talk was cut short as police arrived at the venue and shut down the event.

In a statement following the talk, Action for Trans Health London did not apologize and stated they were “proud” of the protestors’ actions.

Since the events circulated online, numerous trans activists have not only condoned the assault, but celebrated and encouraged it. One young woman who attended the protest said, “I’m happy for them to hit her.”

https://twitter.com/SuddenlyLucy/status/908341226411192325

While silencing, no-platforming, and threats against feminists are not new, this violence takes recent efforts to shut down women’s speech to another level. Many of those defending the violence have predictably compared feminists to Nazis, an accusation that has been embraced by anti-feminists and men’s rights activists for decades. Indeed, it was right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh who popularized the term “feminazi” in the 90s — a man who, like these young activists, believes gender is innate and unchangeable, and feels feminists present a danger by challenging that idea.

That trans activists have adopted this comparison to Nazis with particular enthusiasm of late is intentional, contextualized within antifa defenses of violence against white nationalists. By painting feminist speech as dangerous and bigoted, trans activists have set up a political defense of male violence against women. If violence against Nazis is justified, and feminists are Nazis, violence against feminists is not only acceptable, but politically righteous. Ironically, it is the protestors themselves who have adopted practices endorsed by fascists, including censorship; misogyny; the forcible suppression of opposition and criticism; an opposition to democracy; and the use of violence or threats to build their movement, gain power, and impose their views on others.

Considering the context and history of Hyde park for women’s rights activists and social justice movements, more broadly, the violence and harassment that occurred on Wednesday is ever more emblematic. A century after women fought for their right to participate in public life, they are being silenced once again — smeared and harassed for speaking and meeting in public. Indeed, the behaviour is wholly contrary to the spirit of Speaker’s Corner, and an affront to women’s rights.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Meghan Murphy

    Any woman who wants the justice system to hold men accountable for perpetrating violence against women is one. Call the cops on an abuser? CARCERAL FEMINIST. Demand a rapist be charged? CARCERAL FEMINIST. Suggest exploiting vulnerable women should be illegal? CARCERAL FEMINIST. It’s an evil, manipulative accusation aimed at maintaining male power. Young progressive women fall for it far too easily (and, of course, are punished by their peers via the label/accusation if they attempt to deal with abuse in their anarchist circles etc.)

    • Kathleen Lowrey

      learn something new every day. Thanks! (and sigh)

    • Melanie

      My violent, ice addicted ex-partner came to my house twice years after I left him trying to break down my door, threatening me and my children, viciously calling me a ‘çunt’ etc. I called the police and eventually got a restraining order. I suppose that makes me a carceral feminist then. I should have just stood there and hoped he didn’t manage to break down my door?

      • FierceMild

        I’m sorry you endured that. I hope you’re safer now. These trans activists have never been through a situation like you’re describing. That’s why they call words violence.

        • Melanie

          Thanks Fiercemild. I feel safer but not entirely safe. I’ve lived here for 17 years and I want to stay because it’s cheap rent, the landlord leaves me alone and I can have my pets. He knows where I live because this is where I moved when I left him and at the time he had partial visiting rights to my children. He has no rights to them anymore because I had the orders changed so that I have full custody and he never showed up in court to contest it. He’s been in an out of jail most of his life, mostly for drug related crime and he’s addicted to ice and other drugs. The only time I feel truly safe is when I know he’s in jail. It’s always in the back of my mind that he could come back and maybe this time I’ll be in the garden or the back door will be open and he gets in.

          I also fear that he could do something to my pets. He stole our dog overnight once when I first left him. It’s been twice in the last 17 years that he’s come and the last time was a few years ago. I just hope that his mind is so screwed by drugs now that he can’t remember how to get here. And my sons are older now and can look after themselves and deal with it a bit better. Its traumatic to have somebody do that to you. It’s terrifying. You go into an absolute panic. When he comes I don’t even engage with him or speak to him. I just immediately call the police, carceral feminist that I am. And I had to lose a day of work to get the restraining order, sitting in court all day, sick to my stomach that I would have to face him, although thankfully he didn’t show up. I was working casual at the time so I didn’t get paid for that day. These spoilt, middle class brats have no idea. I can guarantee they would be running to the police if someone just stole their Iphone or something.

          • FierceMild

            It’s terrible to live in fear, but I can also see that your home is important to you and you don’t want to leave. I hate that they can do this to us.

          • Melanie

            Yeah that’s why I don’t have relationships with men anymore. it’s not worth the risk and it’s so draining. Even when you leave them they won’t leave you alone. I just want to live in peace without all this male drama. They’re so needy. They need to dominate and control everything. And they’ll threaten you or beat you up or worse if you don’t comply, just like these ‘activists’ did.

    • Lipstick_Traces

      Sounds a lot like ‘cancer -al’ too. It’s a horrible sounding word. Chosen deliberately for that.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Damn.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Isn’t it incredible that these men think they can bully feminists into submission? As you point out, the suffragists were abused horribly, and pushed forward. These idiots are ignorant beyond belief.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You got it, sister!

  • Morag999

    Excellent reporting and analysis, Meghan. Thank you.

    “By painting feminist speech as dangerous and bigoted, trans activists have set up a political defense of male violence against women. If violence against Nazis is justified, and feminists are Nazis, violence against feminists is not only acceptable, but politically righteous.”

    There it is. Now that nearly all the good, liberal, progressive people believe that trans-identified men are the real victims, and that feminists are their scary, powerful oppressors, they are more confident and more emboldened than ever that they have the right to silence disobedient women by physical force.

    Submit, or else. Shut up, bitches, or you’ll get it in the teeth.

    They are saying to us feminists and they are saying to all girls and women who resist:

    “When we beat on you, and when we wrap our man-hands around your female necks, barely anyone will care or try to stop us. Most people will look the other way, or even cheer us on. Have a look around, you disgusting female TERFs/witches/bitches/cunts! What’s it gonna be? Here are your choices: you will fully co-operate in your own legal annihilation as a distinct class of human beings AND be cheerleaders for violent queer men, OR we will stalk, terrorize, and hurt you whenever and wherever you try to speak out.”

    Trans “activists” are rage-filled, personality-disordered, violent men who specialize in disguising male dominance in pink and glitter; they are men who specialize in “queering” male supremacy. And from the very start, they have been shaking their fists at women.

    Violence is at the heart of the trans project, because disordered male sexuality is at the root of the trans project. Their own humiliation and rage turns them on. These are men who eroticize dominant and submissive sex roles, physical and psychological harm, shame, pain and violence. What they did in Hyde Park is how they “express” themselves. These are the “true selves” they wish to uncover and normalize so that they act out their fantasies “full time” and in public, without censure. When they clamour for social “acceptance,” this is actually what they mean.

  • The bullying of Yardley has to do with the need of patriarchal males to enforce not only dominance over women, but a hierarchical order of subjugation over other males. For a variety of reasons, they see Yardley as inferior and wanted to put him in his place. I don’t know how tall Yardley is, but he has a male frame and obviously knows how to fight, that being an integral part of male socialization. The small old woman–she was a target within their reach.

    • They’re trying to bully Yardley into giving up his political position against genderism. Ultimately they’re trying to protect patriarchy.

      • That’s true. They have to police trans women to control the narrative. I don’t see it working in this case. Allies and people who unwittingly run afoul of the trans narrative might be intimidated. Anyone who has studied the issue understands the scorched earth practices of trans politics. There can be no redemption once you arouse their anger. They will never ever let go of the persecution.

        • Stroke_Your_Own_Ego

          Which, ironically, I think is ultimately a good thing. A trans ally who dares to question the rhetoric in any small way gets pegged as a bigot and is no longer trusted. At that point, her only option is to either apologize profusely, verbally destroy herself, and prove what a pure and dedicated martyr she is…or to accept her exile and leave the gender cult behind. The cult is doing a fine job of recruiting its opposition.

  • Rich Garcia

    “trans-woman” = Any man who adopts the stereotypical mannerisms of a woman groomed into feminine socialization. Simply calling them males is safe and cryptic, because it can apply to almost any species. I’d rather call them men, because it reminds these poor victims of what they really are, and it reveals their misogyny when they don’t get their way.

    They’re “more woman” than the Average Jane who doesn’t need slip on a dress or cake her face with toxic cosmetics to prove that she’s female. But man enough to rape, strangle, or pummel the shit out of any female who dares defy them, once they have gained entry into their shelters, restrooms, or prisons.

    “trans-misogyny” = Perceived hatred of histrionic male impersonators based on a refusal to conform to their psychological bullying of actual girls and women. And there is nothing gyno about any human who is born male.

    “trans-sisters” = I.e., brothers in aggressively redefining girls and women out of public discourse and the stage of history altogether. If the “New Woman” is not a member of the underprivileged sex class (females), but the privileged sex class (males), what does that tell people about male privilege?

    Language is important because it draws the line between educating people about the world around them, or confusing them by corrupting the meaning of words that give us a deeper understanding of our world. This generation is lost because neoliberalism, which is the worst form of fascism, has been baked into every facet of our lives through politics, consumerism, and pop culture for almost 40 years.

    Conservatives will always show themselves for the proud bigots that they are. But you’re not going to have a revolution without purging the Left of the very things they are supposed to stand against, like capitalism, male supremacy, and violent, thuggish, reactionary tactics that are used to silence dissension.

    The comparisons of grassroots Feminism to “Nazism” are also another way in which these “trans-activists” will seek to lure people of color to their side, since it’s predominantly white women who are speaking up against gender ideology. And what better way to slander these women as Jew-haters, when religion and ethnicity have nothing to do with saying that a male can never become a female, and trying to have an intelligent discussion about it.

    • The perception is that it’s primarily white women speaking against gender craziness, but I don’t believe that’s necessarily the case. WOC are often called “white feminists” when they speak out against this. You often don’t know the ethnicity of someone on the Internet, and there’s not a lot on television about feminists opposing gender ideology.

      • Scareymoo

        There are many black women and feminists who are gender critical (lipstick alley for stsrters) and don’t see laverne cox or janet Mock as their heros.

  • FierceMild

    My thoughts exactly If there had been twenty of them punching ‘TERFs’ we would see a surge of activism. Hopefully our numbers will swell without that kind of assistance.

    • Jenjen

      I’m not a ‘feminist’ (at least but what it seems to mean today) but this is crazy and I’d stand with you all.
      Dudes in drag openly beating on women?? Never okay.

      • FierceMild

        Why aren’t you a feminist? I’m genuinely curious; up until a few years ago I would have said the same thing myself and I wonder if you have similar reasons.

  • LordofLight

    Idiots like this are the reason the right wing has been able to make a comeback throughout the world. And really, much as I disagree with a publication The Federalist or The Daily Caller on everything from economic policy to women’s reproductive rights, how can I disagree on when they say that so many transactivists are violent misogynists?

    Yes, oh brilliant 20-year-old SJW, please do tell how women merely asking questions is the same as modern Nazis celebrating a regime that committed the genocide of millions. Right. And thanks for enlightening me that all of the violent men — johns, rednecks, etc. — who assault transwomen read radical feminist literature. Makes total sense, that.

  • Lucia Lola

    For me, it’s simple. This is male violence against females. Dress it up anyway you want (and yes, I also literally mean as “feminine”) but it remains what it’s always been: Men commit violence against women to get what they want.

    Tale as old as time.

    But hey, come at me. I will never, ever, be afraid.

    • Claudia Manion

      I’m terrified but if we don’t stand against this abhorrence, it will only gain strength.

  • Diane McGowan

    I can’t right now…this made me cry. Shared on my FB though, in the hopes that some folks I know will stop being so blinded.

  • Melanie

    Considering that transwomen are assaulted, raped and murdered at such high rates it wouldn’t be hard for trans activists to identify and locate the men who are charged with attacking them and protest outside a courtroom. Or maybe use their fine investigative and stalking skills to find them and teach them a lesson about how not to be a violent transphobe. But no they go after a 60 year old woman standing in a park who dares to express her opinion, that they clearly have no rational, valid response to. All they have is ‘TERF’, their threats and their fists. Much respect to the victim who put up a gutsy fight against these cowards.

    • Maria_MacLachlan

      Thank you. I didn’t even express an opinion – they could only assume what my opinion was from the company I was keeping – people I’ve never even met before. I was just filming them.

      • FierceMild

        I hope you’re alright. These men are absolutely reprehensible.

      • la scapigliata

        You are a hero Maria. My deepest respect to you, and I hope you are ok after such a violent misogynistic attack. I also hope this is a beginning of the end of society’s support for those violent men.

      • Claudia Manion

        Sending love and support Maria. I’m so sorry you went through this. I stand with you!

      • Melanie

        Thank you for standing up to these thugs Maria. Good luck with your legal proceedings. I hope these men are held accountable for their violence.

  • susannunes

    It is no surprise because these MEN have a mental disorder, a mental illness, and typically more than one in addition to their body delusions. They are NOT normal, not even for men. We need to quit pretending they operate in any kind of sane universe. Women need to take their rights back and stop catering in any way to the trans movement including using their lingo like “trans woman,” “trans man,” “gender identity,” and so on. The trans are the enemy like every other misogynist group. Transgenderism is woman-hating filth.

    • Rich Garcia

      Yes. Referring to these men as “transwomen” is part of the problem, since they are still being referred to as women. And “trans” as a prefix for anything can be defined as above or beyond, which doesn’t make sense grammatically since womanhood is the state of being an adult human female, and to go “above” or “beyond” being an ordinary woman would mean you have reached the next step in human evolution, whatever that may be.

      It goes back to the bastardization of vocabulary behind neoliberal politics. They have to corrupt our language to corrupt out minds. And words like “cis”, “TERF”, “SWERF”, etc. are all female-attacking neologisms on par with believing that men can become a more oppressed group of women, which renders the definition of woman or girl and the history behind being female obsolete.

    • catlogic

      The irony is that so many of these LARPers who think they are inadequate males (and thus must be women) are right, in that one respect – they are among the lowest of the low of the male sex.

  • FierceMild

    Will they never stop? Today it feels unwinnable.

  • angry tardis

    I’m old and completely fed up with yet another generation of nasty little boys, emboldened by their socialising, beating women up and crying “but they were mean to me”. Fuck off.

  • Americus91

    See ladies – we have no reason to fear having these violent raging narcissists in our bathrooms, locker rooms, women shelters – they’re harmless. Just keep your head down and stay quiet – otherwise they might mistake you for a “nazi” “terf” and literally knock your teeth out – and you will have deserved it – you made them do it after all. But do the right thing and let em in – they need to be safe from male violence.

  • Cassandra

    So if it looks like a dick, walks like a dick and quacks like a dick…
    What is it?

    Too simple you say? Too reductionist? Okay, how about this one:
    There once lived a king who was wont to peacock in his beautiful clothes; clothes made of fabric so fine, they were invisible. One day a little girl said, “You’re actually just naked, dude.” She was punished to the full extent of the law.

    Don’t like that one either? How about something fancy?

    The term ‘Occam’s razor’ refers to the philosophical idea or scientific principle that of any given set of explanations for an event occurring, it is most likely that the simplest one is the correct one. Occam’s razor does not seek to offer complete and absolute proof, but to find the simplest probable answer to a question of why an event happened.

    Transgender terrorism: Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

  • John Stuart Mill

    I had a co-worker tell me two years ago that “gender-critical TERFs are NO BETTER than the KKK”. Really dude? No better than people who lynched innocent men, BOMBED churches thereby killing children, assassinated MLK & others? We’re just as bad for using our words to reasonably, scientifically question current/fad “trans” dogma about gender? Seriously? Of course this kind of nonsense has just been a tactic used to intimidate, silence, and threaten women & give courage to those who want to beat us. I no longer recognize my country. The inmates are already running the asylum. This incident is further proof. Between the crazies on the left and the crazies on the right, what is a sensible progressive feminist to do?

    • FierceMild

      It’s time for a feminist commune.

  • Kathleen Lowrey

    Except… it is not a generational thing. There are a zillion boomers and gen xers and gen yers in on the fake left of today. In fact t they have been the main architects of bamboozing young activists.

    MEgan Murphy is really brave to stand where she does and she is a young un.

    • FierceMild

      Very true; I’ve been screamed at by gen-xers, tsk-tsked by boomers, and cried at by millenials alike for understanding biology. It isn’t generational; and if it were one would have to take into account that boomers have is Neo-Liberalism in the first place.

    • Amish Rake Fight

      Very fair points and observations. I guess I had been drawn to the historical undertones of the quote, comparing what leftists used to be and what today passes for a “leftist.” Cheers.

  • Alienigena

    “I see many of the same abusive tactics being used here as are used by men who commit domestic violence and rape”

    So true. Like when MRAs and men in general say that women commit domestic assault as much as men. Really! Do they break limbs, hospitalise or kill their victims with the frequency that men do this things to their female partners.

    “In terms of domestic violence, some self-reported research shows men are almost as likely as women to experience it. Although some people claim that men are too embarrassed to admit a woman has abused them, the reverse is actually true: in self-reported research, men tend to over-estimate their partner’s violence while under-estimating their own. At the same time, women over-estimate their own violence and under-estimate their partner’s. This explains why self-reported research often shows similar levels of violence by men and women, even though other research clearly shows that women are disproportionately the victim.”

    Another fact, while men initiate violence women generally use violence in self-defence.

    http://www.canadianwomen.org/facts-about-violence#VICTIMS

    So, is all this so called violence trans identified males are experiencing self-reported or actually recorded by the police as an assault? Oh, I forgot, words are worse violence than the policies and actions of a genocidal regime, i.e. Nazis. My mistake.

    • Jennifer R.

      This! And yes, the MRAs are a huge overlap with the TIMs.

  • FierceMild

    With some rosebuds around the letters and a little unicorn farting the word TERF in glitter text.

  • Arll

    I very much agree. I did not know the organisers had tried to invite the other side. Personally I think it fine not to but given the outrageous and violent response of the other side when they had dropped out, it is even worse that this happened. The New Statesman should publish your article in full, Meghan. I think it is really excellent. Thank you very much. Have you sent it to them? If not, please , please do.

  • yummymoussaka

    Trans activists don’t fare well in debates. Debates with reasonable, respectful feminists tend to shine a light on their utter lack of logic. This is why they would rather beat up a 60-year-old woman than engage in a peaceful discussion.

    Take, for example, this debate:
    https://youtu.be/N91s1j1YD_w

    The majority of the audience was for “society must recognise trans people’s gender identities” both before and after the debate. But the interesting thing is, the majority “for” side had support from 76% of the audience before the debate. That went down to 65% after the debate (they lost 11% of the audience, that’s roughly 14% of the people who started out predisposed to agreeing with them – the annoyed faces the trans speakers made when the audience poll results were announced was hilarious). The against side started with 4% and turned that into 24% with their well-explained and well-reasoned arguments (they swayed 20% of the audience, that has to mean they swayed people who were undecided, and even people who were predisposed to disagreeing with them – not bad for less than one hour of debate).

    Imagine what would happen if we get to see debates like this all the time.

    I’ve been listening to this history podcast that mostly talks about the ridiculous things most people used to believe in. People sincerely used to think cigarettes were good for you. It was to the extent that doctors used to recommend them to patients for things like asthma. In the future people are going to look back at this trans thing and shake their damn heads at it, the same way we shake our heads at the very idea of doctors pushing cigarettes.

    • FierceMild

      Ha! I watched that debate and noticed two major things:

      1) the people arguing against transactivism weren’t particularly convincing so it was even more telling that they got such a response.

      2) the people representing the trans side of the argument were the most respectful and sympathetic representatives one could ask for.

      • JingFei

        Trans woman was wolf in sheeps clothing. In reality, Andrea James is an absolute sociopath. She organized a campaign of abuse and harassment against J.Michael Bailey for writing the book “The Man who Would be Queen”. She was offended by it, and the research on autogynephilia ( that it exists), so went after Bailey’s children to exact revenge. Alice Dreger wrote a harrowing blog entry about it ( Dreger is a bio-ethicist who has done extensive worked for rights and understanding of Intersex people).

        http://alicedreger.com/in_fear

    • M. Zoidberg

      >>’Imagine what would happen if we get to see debates like this all the time.”

      It would be nice if they’d stop no-platforming our side, but then they’d lose the debate because reals over feels, so… :-/

  • FierceMild

    I agree with the motivation and most of the content of your comment. Just one thing jumped out at me. The political voice of the transsexual movement has not been hijacked. The idea that men can become women by performing according to degrading stereotypes is an idea based in misogyny. This attack if a woman by a man isn’t a departure from that idea or from traditional gender roles, it’s a logical extension of them both.

    • Jani

      I’m referring to a time, maybe 20-30 years ago when people went through a lengthy transition period and would supported by psychologists as well as undergoing the hormonal and surgical processes. Some were likely to be intersex and some genuinely believed they had been born ‘in the wrong body’, but the numbers of transsexual people at that time was extremely small. I accept that genuinely transsexual people exist, but this bears no relation to what we are seeing now. I don’t think these thugs are in any way ‘transsexual’.

      To make it clear, I don’t believe that people can just invent whatever ‘gender’ they feel like nor do I believe that a bloke playing dress up is a woman any more than if I insist that I can be a ‘man’ just because I’m wearing jeans. That’s just ludicrous. Similarly this ‘queer’ definition. It used to be a derogatory term for a gay person, but now it seems to be mostly young heterosexual people who don’t think it’s cool to be ‘straight’ or ‘monogamous’ because they have to feel they’re special and don’t want to miss out on the party.

      I’m finding this ‘trans activism’ and the violence extremely sinister. The threats of violence made against women, especially online, is very ugly indeed and then to take it out on to the streets and physically and violently attack women, for being women, for standing up and protecting the rights of women, is something I could never have predicted. No, a man in a dress is not a woman. A man in make up isn’t a women. A woman doesn’t need any of this heels-and-lipstick crap to be a woman, because being a woman isn’t a game of make believe. I’m right with you there.

  • FierceMild

    Thanks for the silver lining perspective. I think the FC commentersnare the only people in the world who can successfully bright side me!

    • JingFei

      I truly believe this is coming to a head. I’ve always had a theory that the true reason Trans activism has gotten as far as it has, it because the majority of everyday people on society are still clueless about it. Feminists know about all this stuff, but ask a generic, gardening neighbor over 35; “How do you identify? What are your pronouns? “, And they will think you’re touched in the head.
      This is why Trans orgs spend all day stalking, vilifying and shutting down all critical voices and events. They know the vast majority have no idea what is going on. And laws are passed without the public knowing wtf they are even about. If the people could openly hear a debate, they would become educated and start paying attention. That is bad for the Trans Lobby. They know it.

      Canada also has a profoundly high immigrant population. I can tell you from personal experience that first generation immigrants would reject most of this garbage where biology isn’t real, and males can shower beside their daughters. But they’re in the dark. Some Trans ideology is so out there, you can’t even wrap your head around it. But most of the crossdressing, spoiled, white Western straight males who aggressively head the Trans movement are psychologically unsound. The crazy, the entitlement, the contempt they harbour for women cannot be kept contained forever. And like this incident, and others like it, they reveal themselves to the public. My only concern is how much violence do Trans males have to inflict on innocent women until it is too brazen for Leftist media to ignore? How bad does it have to get?

      *Sloppily typed on my phone sorry lol

  • Omzig Online

    We’ve got your back, sister! Will you be taking legal action against the men that attacked you?

    • Maria_MacLachlan

      It’s for the Crown Prosecution Service to take action, not me. I am encouraged by the support I’m getting from police.

      • Morag999

        Good to hear police are being supportive.

  • FierceMild

    Your public ordeal may very well be the flapping of the proverbial butterfly’s wings.

  • Jenjen

    I am social libertarian/fiscal conservative, for sure. I wouldn’t say I’m anti feminist unless feminism = thinking women need to be protected and cared for by big daddy government, like children. Then yes I’m anti that.

    I’m an old school feminist, I think highly of women and of our abilities… which I guess nowadays is considered anti feminist?
    I’m 47 maybe that explains it? Idk

    • FierceMild

      So much of that really depends on where you live. For example, where I live women do not have equal status or protection under the law to that of men. We are systematically discriminated against in the workplace and it is legal to pay us less then men for the same work. We cannot have our own sports teams or even private spaces to change our clothes at public pools. If a man is charged with, and found guilty of, sexual assault or rape he is likely to go unpunished or receive only token chastisement. My country’s laws are actually written almost as if women don’t exist at all.

      It is my belief that women deserve the societal and legal standing to protect and care for ourselves (which is what men already have). That is what I learned radical feminism is actually trying to accomplish. I used to think feminism was a bunch of women who had poor sexual bounderies and unworkable, ignorant, self-contradictory ideas shouting drunken self righteous drivel on college campuses. It sounds like that’s the type you see.

      • Jenjen

        Yes, that is what I see. And those same feminists don’t seem to care about women in other countries who really need the help of feminism. Because they don’t feel “right” about criticizing other cultures because “all cultures are equal” or something, which is total BS. A culture that punishes a rape victim is inferior to one that punishes the perpetrator. Not all ideas are equal. We can and should judge behavior. All imho.

        • Wren

          Oh I criticize freely. Maybe you should give radical feminism a shot? Certainly, reading more on Feminist Current is a great place to start.

          • Jenjen

            I will definitely be reading more.

        • FierceMild

          True. I no longer think of those poor girls as feminists. For one thing they aren’t centering women or the needs of women in their politics. For another thing they’re so confused By Neo-Liberal obfuscation they try to convince themselves that they’ve chosen exactly the role of sex doll that they’re foremothers have gone to so much trouble to win freedom from. We’ll just have to start over.

          • Jenjen

            Yeah… “Slut-walks” give me heartburn.

  • acommentator

    “This is not the first time anti sex-role enforcement (aka “gender”)
    feminists have tried to engage these gender-enforcing,
    patriarcal-supporting, backwards thinkers in discussion.”

    It would not surprise me if some of the more prominent trans activists, knowing how common scenes like this are becoming, won’t come to debates because they don’t want to be photographed in association with such blatant thuggery.

    It would put them in a very awkward position. If they wanted to maintain any credibility with the mass of ordinary non-activist types, they would have to publicly condemn and try to stop the violence. Right there when it is happening. They would have to act like the ordinary civil rules of society respecting disagreement are valid and should be followed.

    That, in turn, would imply that there is legitimacy in the concept that people have the right to express other opinions. It might even imply recognition of the concept that other opinions can be held in good faith. This is anathema to the SJW mentality that imbues so many “activists,” who would be outraged and feel betrayed. Because they don’t believe in debate and freedom of speech. They don’t debate policy or ideas. They “do” activism. Its all performative. That is why it keeps running amuck.

  • Stroke_Your_Own_Ego

    “Really, women diagnosed with BPD (often in fact Complex-PTSD) have far
    more grounds to regard their mental health issues politically, as do
    women with eating disorders. But they generally don’t.”

    Wow, good point!

    • Yisheng Qingwa

      I have C-PTSD and yeah… good point.

  • The blame for most of this really needs to rest with leadership in the psychiatric/social-work professions. They are the ones who have coddled this notion that people with gender dysphoria don’t have to take into account the effects of their transition on other people, and that the feelings of the gender dsyphoric are so much more important than other people’s. They don’t do this with other disorders. One of the reasons they refuse to listen to clinicians in the field who aren’t gender specialists, their own rank-and-file (who have protested for years), is that they pride themselves on being consumer driven through lgbt organizations. So it’s a vicious circle between the two groups.

  • DeColonise

    This is undoubtedly rue and one of the few positives in this whole madness .
    People need to demand politicians to stop catering to this vile movement but so far i see little of it in the western world.
    Problem so far is that the only politicians who want to not just jump onto the transgender bandwagon and elevate them above everybody else in society is right winged politicians and we know they sadly comes with a whole baggage of really bad stuff as well.
    But something needs to be done about this group that is walking forwards in terms of political power like a speeding train.
    It’s not about taking away human rights from them, universal human rights are universal human rights but these laws in some places in which its going to be considered “hate speech” to know a male is a male and so on is just too effing far.

  • calabasa

    Yes, so do I. These are also the same tactics used by rape apologist men. They say things they KNOW aren’t true, like that women routinely lie about rape and you gotta be careful on a Saturday night or your whole life could be ruined ’cause you’ll end up in county for trying to score. How I wish the latter were true.

  • calabasa

    Liberal feminism is not feminism. I went to “Take Back the Night” recently, where I was given dirty looks by an enormous bearded man in a dress while I tried to tell the organizers that one of their volunteers is a rapist (I must have a TERF vibe), and then invited to a Slutwalk. UGH

    However, equality vs. difference feminism is an important distinction. Whenever we ask that “all people be equal,” it is worth asking “equal to what?” Do POC want to hold the same values as the people who enslaved and colonized them, and still have that mentality toward the rest of the world and the oppressed classes in their own world? Do women really want to be equal to men in a society built by men around masculine values? Considering that masculinity=dominance, I certainly don’t. Masculine values aren’t good for men and they sure as hell aren’t good for women, and competing always on the other side’s home court is not a level playing field.

    Furthermore, the problems aren’t just “over there” (though certainly we do our fair share to make the problems of “over there” worse). There is plenty to be done in Western nations. The U.S. is particularly misogynist, what with trying to roll back abortion rights, being the only developed nation without federally mandated maternity leave, and the abysmal rate of rape and domestic homicides of women.

    You can stand and be tough, and I agree that we should raise girls into women who are tough and say “no” and have boundaries and respect themselves. We also need to raise them to have a healthy understanding of the reality of patriarchy, to stand up for themselves socially, professionally, and personally, for the right of equal pay, equal treatment, being taken seriously, not being objectified, and not being used by men for sexual or domestic servitude. We need to raise girls to understand that in this current climate sexual violence is common, because it is. And we need to raise boys to respect women. Right now boys are raised to actively disrespect us, not to take our words seriously, whether it’s our ideas, our professionalism, our abilities, or our “no.”

    This is why we need feminism and if you don’t know this you are willfully choosing to deny reality just like the transactivists.

  • calabasa

    Great article, Meghan! Yes, women who believe there should not be a class of women available to men to abuse (whether we’re talking the unpunished rapes of “bad women” or the paid rapes of impoverished and desperate women) have always been “carceral feminists.” Now women who think all women are not a class of people available to be abused by mentally ill men in dresses are “carceral feminists.” Believing abuse of women should be a crime is apparently a crime, to some people.

    I’m glad you are reporting the truth, and I’m glad these violent men are showing their true colors (narcissists always do, sooner or later). I’m sorry Maria MacLachlan had to get hurt, though, and glad she sounds like she’s all right, from the comment thread on here. I’ve been to Speaker’s Corner and it’s a travesty that women are now not allowed to speak there on this issue without being stalked and attacked (ANYONE is supposed to be allowed to speak there on ANY issue. Do they have huge protests against the people who practice hate speech there? Do they beat them up? Doubtful). The fact that media is portraying this as acceptable and not telling the full story of the event is appalling and smacks of a cover-up. Is the mainstream media all in on this conspiracy to silence women, excuse their attackers and paint rational, radical feminists as bigots?

    I think it’s also telling that the person the transactivists attacked was the person holding the camera. They are just like cops attacking bystanders and taking away their cell phones when they’re being filmed roughing up a civilian.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “I think it’s also telling that the person the transactivists attacked was the person holding the camera. They are just like cops attacking bystanders and taking away their cell phones when they’re being filmed roughing up a civilian.”

      Yes indeed! What an apt comparison.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You are so right on, JingFei.

  • Americus91

    It’s truly infuriating – there is also a trend now of linking in with kids and people on the autism spectrum. It’s like they’re trying to grow an army.

    I never have stopped to think about what you said – about knowing people over 50 who are gay but never knowing any who said they’re trans. I’m in my 40’s. I had teachers and friends in HS who were gay and lesbian. I have one brother in his 50’s who is gay. I recall in HS there were some girls who were considered “butch” and some boys who were more feminine. Some of them were gay – some not – or not out yet. I saw and heard of their struggles at home. But they got through it.

    It just frustrates me to no end – because I know how manipulative and abusive narcissistic males can be, and how they prey on vulnerable girls and women. And now we have these types claiming to be women and manipulating girls and women to be their allies, fight for them, and have sex with them etc.

    It’s so insidious.

    • JingFei

      Well, I wouldn’t say there are no “Trans” over 50 persey. Everyone knows Caitlyn Jenner who is a senior citizen. But they are pretty damn rare, seemingly comprised of those with gender dysphoria who might have transitioned awhile ago, but probably more crossdressers/fetishists among them.
      I was just thinking, how many people who are 55-75 yrs old “come out” as “non-binary”? Or “agender demi-girl”? How many of them focus for hours a day on their unique identity?
      I have never met any. In fact, I dare say the vast majority of 60 year olds would have no idea what the hell this stuff is.
      The Sparkle queer brigade are a bunch of posturing kiddies who want to feel special and treat their identities like their own original anime character creations. Trust me, 3 months working rice fields for 8 -9 hours a day in Jiuxiancun and I bet they wouldn’t be pondering if they’re an “omni-gender, aromantic polyamorous nekogirl ” or a “bi-romantic, heteroqueer, agender sapiosexual” anymore.

  • Yisheng Qingwa

    Yes, a “self-fulfilling prophecy” is how my last BF decided to describe my repeated abuse at the hands of men.

  • JingFei

    She wrote a book documenting it called “Galileo’s Middle Finger” I think, and was on the receiving end of a typical Trans activist abuse campaign, labeled “Terf” etc. They even lobbied the Lambda Literary (where her book was up for an award) and declared her work “Transphobic bigotry”, and Lambda dropped in from the running like cowards. So she’s certainly put herself out there. She’s been scarce on social media ever since.
    Someone should compile a massive list of all the once allies the Trans Lobby have turned against and attacked for infractions. Because it is getting loonnggggg.

    • FierceMild

      Can I nominate you to keep that list? You seem to always be the first/best informed on this topic. It could be something like Counting Dead Women.

    • Omzig Online

      Well, they’re not winning many people over, that’s for sure. They really messed up by threatening and coercing people within their own LGBT community. I really think most normal people shake their heads at their nonsense, but many are also very afraid to speak out against it. I, for one, cannot afford to lose my job by speaking out publicly, and I’ll be damned if I let any psychotic trans activist near enough to my daughter to make her a target of online abuse.

      So basically I feel like the only safe thing I can do is vent anonymously online, and vote for female-centered political policies when the opportunity presents itself.

      Meanwhile, I’ll sit back and watch that list of alienated, disenchanted gender-critical realists grow longer and longer every single day.

  • FierceMild

    My niece started high school at a private school this year and confided to me that she’s the only kid in the 9th grade who is straight. The only one.

    • JingFei

      I hope she doesn’t feel pressured to adopt a “unique identity”.

  • Alienigena

    “IF “TERF”s didn’t exist, they’d have to invent them. Well, actually — they did. Because they need the Witch”

    I wonder why more people don’t see it in this light. The same people who recognise racism and islamophobia seem completely oblivious to how women and feminist women in particular are demonised (like women accused of witchcraft were) as TERFs. How they are silenced, ostracised and their professional reputations attacked. Yet when a prominent man is accused of violence against women somehow his reputation needs to be protected by all and sundry. Because he couldn’t have done the thing that seven, 15 or 20 women accuse him of having done. In addition to being morally bankrupt many of these progressives are sort of ridiculous.

  • Alienigena

    “…victimhood is alluring to acquire, because it grants one a ridiculous amount of power”

    I think this is what puzzles some of us for whom victimhood was never empowering. When I was a young adult I never wanted to give my parental abuser credit for influencing how I saw the world or for impacting me as a person. To do so would have felt like giving up what little power I had. I realise that was wrong-headed but I didn’t feel the way these young people do about being a victim or being in a special category. Same with chronic illness. The adults around me just seemed to be irritated by the inconvenience my illness caused them and they encouraged me to ignore my symptoms and ‘just get on with life’, which only works so far if you are legitimately ill. My illness never seemed like a lever to manipulate people with, it was just something I had to deal with.